ISLAMABAD: While foreign medical and dental graduates have announced plans to protest outside the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) today (Monday), the council has blamed the delay in the registration of doctors on the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS).
Despite repeated attempts, no NHS ministry official was available for comment.
More than 600 foreign graduates who passed the National Examination Board (NEB), conducted by the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC), were not registered because the PMC was declared null and void by the Islamabad High Court.
The graduates have announced that they will protest outside the PMDC on Monday, with support and participation from the Punjab Young Doctors Association.
A PMDC spokesperson said the council completed the verification process of candidates in July and sent details of graduates to the NHS ministry for notification on July 9 but is still waiting for a response.
“As soon as the ministry sends the notification, certificates will be issued to these doctors. Lists of 93 graduates and 425 graduates have been sent for notification by the ministry. After notification, these graduates will be issued PMDC certificates. Reminders have already been sent to the ministry requesting for prompt notification so the PMDC can issue certificates,” the spokesperson said.
A letter from the PMDC to the ministry, which is available with Dawn, states that 606 candidates passed step three of the NEB exam on Feb 1 and 2, according to the results of the National University of Medical Sciences in Rawalpindi.
“The exam was conducted during the tenure of PMC which allowed a number of candidates to appear in the exam who were not issued eligibility letter by the council which is mandatory requirement as per Pakistan Registration of Medical and Dental Practitioners Regulations 2008,” it states.
The letter adds that the matter of 606 candidates who passed the exam was considered by the PMDC ad hoc council’s NEB Committee in a meeting on June 17, and after deliberation it was decided to write to the ministry for notification.
“It is requested that the approval of the government of Pakistan is required under section 15 of the PMDC Ordinance 1962 substituted by section 17 of the Medical and Dental Council (Amendment) Act 2012 and names of the candidates be published in the official gazette,” the letter, written by PMDC Registrar Dr Hafizuddin Ahmed Siddiqui, said.
According to PMDC rules, only those medical and dental graduates who have major postgraduate qualifications such as a diploma from the American Board, Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in the United Kingdom, or their equivalent are exempt from the NEB examination. All others, especially those who studied their MBBS in a language other than English, have to clear the NEB.
An official from the PMDC said that the purpose of the NEB examination was to examine the competency and skills of medical and dental doctors to maintain minimum standards of medical and dental education.
Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2020